The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page writes in his Sunday 1 April column “Justice Kennedy's Obamacare swing vote” that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution provides “the main argument for the government to regulate health care.”
The Commerce clause, third of eighteen Congressional responsibilities, is “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”
Doesn't seem to have a hint of health care there, but in Wickard vs Filburn in 1942 the Supreme Court said Congress can regulate trivial local, intrastate activities that have an aggregate effect on interstate commerce via the commerce clause, even if the effect is indirect. Did anyone hear James Madison clear his throat?
Is there a limit somewhere? Is there anything not already done by the government that can be justified by saying “commerce clause”?
How do medicare and Obamacare look compared to health insurance before them? Large private sector insurance companies began selling various forms of health insurance back in the 19th century. Lots of bad things that can happen to people healthwise, but they don't happen to all people, all the time. Actuaries can design systems where people can get together, each contributing so much, This money can be invested and generate additional funds to take care of people who do have bad things happen to them.
With the current tax payment act of 1943, instead of sending in a check for their income tax once a year, employers deducted it from wage earners' paychecks and sent it in every month. In the beginning the employers covered this with smaller checks they were writing directly to the employees, but this evolved quickly to another expense for the employer, If they don't send it, they go to jail. The money's gotta come from somewhere, so the employers add it to the cost of their product. Painless national sales tax, anyone?
So the feds have vast amounts of cash continuously rolling in, but unlike private insurers, instead of investing it in various worthwhile projects, they deposit in the general fund. Well sure, salaries for the president and congress come from there, but so do earmarks, and Nancy Pelosi's and Michelle Obama's luxurious trips all over the country, and billions of dollars to quckly going bankrupt 'green' disasters like Solyndra.
And some of it goes to Obamacare, too, but instead of contracted amounts as from private insurance companies, actuaries compute how little they need to spend to keep the people believing they are getting something for nothing.
And since the US economy is constantly, reliably expanding, we can always borrow.
But during the George W Bush administration, monthly federal deficits averaged $20 billion, an unheard of deficit at the time. Now our current president has raised that average monthly deficit by a factor of six - that's right, $120 billion per month.
So besides the question, is there anything that cannot be justified by the Commerce clause, how long can we go on sextupling the average monthly federal deficit every five years before we need to go to Greece for a loan?
Ninety per cent of voters are wage earners. If we made them all write checks on their personal bank accounts for their own taxes, how long would they continue to vote in legislators who would vote for junk like this? What would employers do with the money they're sending in now? Hire more employees? Get the national unemployment rate back to George W Bush levels?
I've lived in Detroit, St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh PA, Marblehead MA. Worked as tech rep in Southern CA, Bay area, NYC, I've been to Europe a dozen times (Ireland, UK, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium.
Favorite restaurants are Gene & Georgetti's in Chicago, Roma Cafe in Detroit, Frankie and Johnie's in NYC, Rigazzi's on the hill in St. Louis (Also Charlie Gitto's, was Angelo's when I went there.)
For about a year I had small offices in Clayton MO, in the Country Club Plaza in KC. I rode a ten-speed bike around Lake Michigan (The bottom half in one week in June 1978, another week for the top half in 1980, used the Badger both times.
Don't get to travel much anymore, but still try to rent a car and go around the Lake in March every year. Sure, there's still snow, and it's not warm, OTOH there are no bugs and no toursts. Greatest little tavern in the world is Sherry's Port Bar in Garden UP MI